Allagash Wilderness Waterway

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a 92-mile stretch of lakes, ponds and rivers flowing North through the Maine woods.  It was established back in 1970 as one of the countries first Wild & Scenic Rivers and remains as Maine's only federally designated Wild & Scenic river today.

I've been dreaming of a trip here since I learned about it twenty years ago.  I wanted to make the trip on a standup paddleboard, but the management office maintains that only 'traditional' watercraft are allowed in the region.  That means that crafts must fall into strict physical dimensions as well as construction methods.  Sups are not allowed, so I opted for a good ole' traditional open canoe.  

I've been working with an awesome crew all summer and we've been planning this trip slowly throughout the last couple months.  Well, last week we finally had the weather window and the time to make the 5-day trip.  Water was still very low this year, so we had to modify our trip a bit and excluded running the river.  Quite the bummer, but there just wasn't enough water to make a smooth trip down the whitewater sections, so we opted for a lake trip instead, with a focus on lake tripping, fishing and camping.  It was a pretty solid Plan B and none of us regretted it one bit.

After a long drive north to the area in two vehicles, we unloaded at the put-in and then immediately ran a shuttle further North to the take-out.  It was only about 45-50 miles away, but we were traversing logging roads the entire time.  Granted, they're in awesome shape, but they're narrow, filled with ruts and have some crazy logging truck traffic.  About four hours later we finally made it back to the put-in and launched.

The next four days we explored some incredible campsites, caught and released dozens of healthy fish, spotted moose and black bear and just had an incredible & relaxing Allagash experience.  Now that I'm home, I can begin planning my return trip in order to finish traversing the entire waterway, which means running that section of river we missed.  If you ever get a chance to visit, it's worth every bit of travel and planning to get the experience of a remote and pristine water-filled wilderness.

Enjoy the pics..

West branch of the Penobscot was flowing

Running shuttle.  Waiting for logging trucks to load up and clear the road.  Logging companies own this land and the roads, so we're at their mercy.

First nights campsite.  

Exploring the famous Allagash Trains.  Long story short, these trains moved lumber between two lakes.  They pretty much portaged full trees and when they were no longer needed, it was much cheaper to leave them there than to dismantle and move them.  Today, they draw many visitors.

One of our shuttle vehicles.  Little thing did pretty awesome on the logging roads.  

Close to prime foliage season.  

Love is in the water.. 

Looking up lake from Chamberlain Dam.

Gorgeous weather for the entire trip.